We've got 99 days until the Awkward Bowl, so let's kick off this marathon with one of the bigs—Dereck Boles
#99, Dereck Boles, RS Freshman, DT
Weight: 283 lbs
High School: Lakeland High School, Lakeland, Florida
How'd he get to the Blue™?
To this day, I still have no idea how the Broncos got lucky enough to find and then sign Boles. He looks great on film (see below) and Lakeland High is a perennially strong program who places numerous players each year in D1 programs. You're telling me that Florida Atlantic or Florida International couldn't rustle up a schollie for this kid? That's crazy to me. Most likely, you have D-Line Coach Steve Caldwell and his long history recruiting the South to thank. According to every major recruiting site, Boise State was Boles' only D1 offer. The caveat there is recruiting sites only show the offers kids report to them.
Anywho, Boles, who originally hails from Jamaica, is a fairly raw prospect which could have played a role in his under-recruitment and under-rating. He was a consensus two-star recruit according to 247Sports; although, he miraculously landed a third star from ESPN after signing with Boise State. Maybe we are more respected than we think?
We saddled the big Floridian with this nickname last season and though it's aspirational, I can't think of anything much better for #99. It fits like a (spandex) glove.
Boles was a four-year letterwinner at Lakeland High and was named second-team all-state in class 7-A Florida and first-team all-county as a senior.
I'm excited about the future of the Bronco D-line...and that's saying something because the present is pretty dang good and the immediate future (losing 7 guys to graduation at season's end) seems more "scary" than exciting at first blush. Turns out, it's easy to be excited about the future of the front four because of how amazing the present is. Boise State has loads of senior leadership that will allow the younger crop of DTs (and DEs for that matter) to come along slowly while absorbing more and more of the playbook and tutelage from the upperclassmen. Obviously, Boise State will benefit this season from having 3 DTs around that they didn't expect to have—that's Tyler Horn, Deuce Mataele, and Justin Taimatuia...so Boles gets a small reprieve from being thrust right into the "do or die" DT rotation, but he'll be able to get some valuable late game reps this year and continue to add a bit more bulk to his already-impressive frame.
Long-term, I see Boles as more of an Armand Nance type up front—a big-bodied lineman with surprisingly nimble feet that can get in the backfield on occasion, but plug up running and passing lanes with regularity. Boles is the kind of guy that can end up commanding double-teams and that just leaves more red meat for the linebacking unit and rush ends. 2016 will be interesting with the departures of Turner, McNair, Ash, Mataele, Taimatuia, Horn, and Nance...but if the Broncos nail the 2016 recruiting class (sure to include one or two more JuCos) and bring around younger guys like Boles, Locher and Moa in 2015, there's no need for production to drop off despite the depth taking a major hit. Expect to see Boles making some plays in 2015 and become a key cog in 2016 and beyond.
Is he on Twitter?
Wing spot first stop— Dereck Boles (@99Just_Do_It) April 29, 2015
Completely made up fact
While the "Boles Dozer" moniker has yet to really take hold—back in Lakeland, Dereck is known as "Famous" Boles for eating 12 of them in one sitting at an area KFC.